The Digital Human is a project to create a software simulation of the most complex system known: the human body. Using 21st century information technology and tools, scientific communities disseminated across the world (mainly Europe, United states and Japan) are striving to present the human body’s full processes, from DNA molecules and proteins to cells, tissues, organs, and gross anatomy. Several research teams have already successfully implemented software simulation for organs, limbs, cells, neuromuscular and cardivascular biomechanics, etc…
Getting to study and simulate human body components or movements usually requires experimental and computational approaches such as biomechanical models developed to analyze muscle function, study movement, design new medical products, and to ultimately guide surgery.
The Digital Human project is now at a crossroad where a large number of simulations of organs and body processes have been validated independently. The objective of the Digital Human project is to unite all those simulation into one full scale digital human. The road towards completion is however paved with a major obstacle: the lack of interoperability among all the models. The underlying problem is the absence of unified ontology, hence making hard for experts to address common issues or to couple models together.
In this perspective, the EC/NSF meeting was held in the National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Marryland, on the 25 and 26th of July 2002. This workshop gathering both European and American experts had the ambition to be a kick-off the harmonisation and unification of ontology in the field. The workshop Chairman, Dr Henry Kelly from the Federation of American Scientists, was assisted in his task by Dr Martin Hofmann (FhG) head of the European delegation. The list of all participants is available in Annex 2.